Garmin Varia RTL510 Marketing gimmick or really works?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
3Pio
Posts: 1251
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:13 pm

by 3Pio

This period look like bad luck period in different ways...

Today Tubular sidecut puncture on almost new tubular tire (200 km)

Yesterday we got almost killed by car.. We were riding three of us using the slow lane in the city (it was recovery ride, and riding just 20 km outside of the town for a beer and some snacks there)..

In one moment i just heard brakes of the car and that sound start becoming louder and closer.. Without thinking just instinct made me push on the pedals as much as i can and to go as right as possible.. And few more seconds sound of crashing.... Car hit third guy with us.. My other friend done similar as i done so he missed the back hit as well.. very big luck that third friend who get hit by the car, dont have serious injuries, just scrathes.. But his rear wheel is totaled and probably bike damage (waiting for detailed inspection tommorow or tuesday).


Anyway, this incidend, and including few potential incidents made me thinking of Garmin Varia RTL510.. For yesterday incident it wont help i guess, since in city boulevar the cars are all the time, so u expect that there is car all the time from behind....

But for other out of city riding maybe it can be help, so want opinion (i read some review's and almost all positive):

1. How really helpfull is it in real riding?

Did some of u had a situations that help u to avoid dangerous situation? Is not distracting watching in Display to see the car dots and instead of quick reaction as we had yesterday to spend worth second or two from watching to reacting?

2. Showing/Beeping about car behind is one of the safety options which im not sure it's worth in real riding (never tried, that asking).. But there is another thing which i like.. As i can see blinking light start blinking more as car approach.. So does that mean will get driver attention and his first instinct reaction will be to slow down and push the brakes? Driver yesterday said that he saw us, but someone from the other way enter his lane, so his instinct tried to avoid that collision and that how happened..

Wondering if there was Radar which will start blinking more and more as he approach made him to slow down earlier ...

3. What about battery ? How long last in real world riding including Garmin Edge 520 which i'll use? (how much more battery drain put Garmin RTL510)


4. Garmin Varia RTL510 vs much cheaper but rear light with a lot of lumens to be seen? And overall does rear light (even in day riding), make riding safer? (what if driver is not sure what is that blinkiing, put the eyes to see what is it.. And sometimes driver drive in the way where he is watching...)

And what is ur overal opionion since it's not cheap.. Is it gimmick or really raise the safety regarding my questions? RTL510 or something else? Or to just continue riding without Varia or similar and consider this few incidents as just bad luck?

by Weenie


TobinHatesYou
Posts: 3992
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

ANT+ Radar devices like the Varia Radar won't intrinsically make you safer, but I find myself riding in the middle of the lane more often (away from all the all the crap that gets pushed to the side of the lane/shoulder) because I can.

g32ecs
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:50 am

by g32ecs

I'd rather buy a GoPro and pair it with a dedicated rear light.

I get what Garmins doing here, but cars come wayyyyyyy too fast than bikes. We as cyclists sometimes make split second decisions (I think we're sharper than normal human beings IMO), but when the road is tight, how are you supposed to react when you're SOL? Just think about the situation you were in.

Better to get yourself noticed and have that insurance policy aka GoPro.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 3992
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

g32ecs wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:59 pm
I'd rather buy a GoPro and pair it with a dedicated rear light.

I get what Garmins doing here, but cars come wayyyyyyy too fast than bikes. We as cyclists sometimes make split second decisions (I think we're sharper than normal human beings IMO), but when the road is tight, how are you supposed to react when you're SOL? Just think about the situation you were in.

Better to get yourself noticed and have that insurance policy aka GoPro.

It's not really for the situations you describe. On a narrow road, we are SOL either way. On an empty rural road with a rough shoulder, it's awesome.

spdntrxi
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

I think they are worth it.. you riding partners can connect to it too you know (if they use garmins)... basically 1 radar for mutiple people is pretty cool.

jfranci3
Posts: 675
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

They're amazing for irregular traffic, but not helpful around regular traffic.

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pdlpsher1
Posts: 2419
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:09 pm
Location: CO

by pdlpsher1

TobinHatesYou wrote:ANT+ Radar devices like the Varia Radar won't intrinsically make you safer, but I find myself riding in the middle of the lane more often (away from all the all the crap that gets pushed to the side of the lane/shoulder) because I can.
+1. Especially on fast canyon descents I can take the center of the road until I get an alert that a car is coming. I also find that I can enjoy my rides more as I’m not preoccupied with looking out for traffic (assuming a road with light traffic).


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MichaelB
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:31 am

by MichaelB

jfranci3 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:33 am
They're amazing for irregular traffic, but not helpful around regular traffic.
Having tested one for a while, That's a pretty good summary

MichaelB
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:31 am

by MichaelB

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Last edited by MichaelB on Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

3Pio
Posts: 1251
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:13 pm

by 3Pio

g32ecs wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:59 pm
I'd rather buy a GoPro and pair it with a dedicated rear light.

I get what Garmins doing here, but cars come wayyyyyyy too fast than bikes. We as cyclists sometimes make split second decisions (I think we're sharper than normal human beings IMO), but when the road is tight, how are you supposed to react when you're SOL? Just think about the situation you were in.

Better to get yourself noticed and have that insurance policy aka GoPro.

I was wondering if yesterday situation, if there was radar varia light which blink and start blinking louder as car apporach, if that will change driver's habbit and slow down much before ... And not just for yesterday situation, but dont know how drivers react in this situation..

My first logic when im driver is:

1. Blinking light in front of me.. Slow down, check what is it, probably is bicycle on the road..

2. Blinking in front beeing louder.. Ok, give him enough space and pass him as soon as is safe.. But first reaction if i see blinking pattern beeing louder as i aporach will be to slow down and push brake...

But im cyclist so i react probably with understunding for other cyclist (i slow down and give enough space when im passin when no lights on bike as well.. Im not sure if light (especially changing pattern light), make things safer since grab attention (for non cyclist drivers)

GoPro wont help at all in our traffic...Even for insurance...

MichaelB
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:31 am

by MichaelB

3Pio wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:21 am
My first logic when im driver is:

1. Blinking light in front of me.. Slow down, check what is it, probably is bicycle on the road..

.......
2 mistakes there. 1st is 'logic' and 2nd is that if a driver even pays enough attention, will they do anything.

Sadly, it's an issue, especially when plonkers can't even sto[p looking at their phones while driving.

Here in South Australia, it's a $600 fine (US$410) and 3 demerit points (you only get 12, and lose them in 3 years and you lose your licence) taken away. Even that doesn't work !! :noidea:

3Pio
Posts: 1251
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:13 pm

by 3Pio

MichaelB wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:27 am
3Pio wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:21 am
My first logic when im driver is:

1. Blinking light in front of me.. Slow down, check what is it, probably is bicycle on the road..

.......
2 mistakes there. 1st is 'logic' and 2nd is that if a driver even pays enough attention, will they do anything.

Sadly, it's an issue, especially when plonkers can't even sto[p looking at their phones while driving.

Here in South Australia, it's a $600 fine (US$410) and 3 demerit points (you only get 12, and lose them in 3 years and you lose your licence) taken away. Even that doesn't work !! :noidea:

So as i understund in real world cant expect that driver will do something differently then dont having Varia Light at all.. And the only benefit is that ill be alarmed as extra insurance vs not having varia?

U said u tested and work good.. Can u please be more specific about ur experience?

Thanks

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Spinnekop
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:03 pm
Location: South Africa

by Spinnekop

3Pio wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 pm

1. How really helpfull is it in real riding?

Did some of u had a situations that help u to avoid dangerous situation? Is not distracting watching in Display to see the car dots and instead of quick reaction as we had yesterday to spend worth second or two from watching to reacting?

2. Showing/Beeping about car behind is one of the safety options which im not sure it's worth in real riding (never tried, that asking).. But there is another thing which i like.. As i can see blinking light start blinking more as car approach.. So does that mean will get driver attention and his first instinct reaction will be to slow down and push the brakes?

3. What about battery ? How long last in real world riding including Garmin Edge 520 which i'll use? (how much more battery drain put Garmin RTL510)

4. Garmin Varia RTL510 vs much cheaper but rear light with a lot of lumens to be seen? And overall does rear light (even in day riding), make riding safer? (what if driver is not sure what is that blinkiing, put the eyes to see what is it.. And sometimes driver drive in the way where he is watching...)

Is it gimmick or really raise the safety regarding my questions? RTL510 or something else? Or to just continue riding without Varia or similar and consider this few incidents as just bad luck?
I have been riding with my Varia for 2+ years now. I first had the horisontal squere one with the not-so-bright LEDs and later switched to the vertical RTL510.
It is expensive.
The question I always ask myself when I bought an expensive piece of equipment after using it a while.........Will I buy it again if it breaks? And on this. 3x YES!

1. It is helpful. Would it have helped in your above mentioned scenario? I doubt it. It sounded the driver lost control long before he slowed down or had a chance to slow down. In real world riding it helps in the sense that it adds this underlying conscious of cars approaching.

2. The Beeping is VERY helpful. If it did not beep, it would not have been that helpful. The showing part I helful in full-on traffic. Escpecially commuting on narrow roads where it is good to see how many cars approacing and how far behind.

3. Battery on the Radar.....about 8-10 hours on blinking mode I would guess. I charge mine after 4 days of training, 1 hour per day and then after the weekend's two long rides (Sat & Sun). Battery on the unit........I get around 10-12 hours out of my 1030 unit with everything switched on.

4. I have had many rear lights. Cars don't care. The Radar function is what is going to help you and not the light..........in my opinion.

To me this little thing is something I won't be able to ride without anymore. Especially in South Africa where respect for human life in general is non existant. Every little aid that you can find to help with your safety is worth the expense in my opinion.

If you are not willing to pull the trigger immediatly or you are still wondering......ride with someone that has one. In our club rides there are about 4 or 5 riders with a Radar. Before starting on the group ride, quickly search for the surrounding units and connect to it. (piggy back on one with other words)
That way you can experiment how it works and if it really is helpful to you.
"In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is DESIRE.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"

RTW
in the industry
Posts: 3486
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:32 pm

by RTW

I have one. Wouldn’t be without it. In really remote areas I have a beep alert on, most of the time I don’t.

For me it adds to situational awareness. It is an aid. I have a rear view light / camera but don’t use it. I felt morbid putting on a camera to catch the person who was going to run me down every time I went for a ride.

The sooner people aren’t permitted to drive for safety reasons, the better IMO.
Your cycling kit is one size too big!

by Weenie


guyc
Posts: 981
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:40 am
Location: Hampshire, England
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by guyc

I live in a fairly rural area with quiet roads and, after getting knocked off by a van that didn't stop in April, decided to get one of these.

I can only echo the positive comments above. It's incredibly reliable and accurate and (and Tobin mentions this) it allows me to know when I need to tuck in and when I can ride in the centre. It's hugely useful coming up to junctions, particularly on faster roads. I wouldn't ride without one now, and it's the first item I'd replace.

When I took my motorbike test years ago the instructor told us to always assume every other road user will drive/ride like an idiot - UK roads prove that to be largely true with others largely motivated by their own speed and self-interest. RTW mentions situational awareness and that's the key. It's a superb tool that allows me a better understanding of what's happening behind me.

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